Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brad Dean is slated to testify before a U.S. House committee Wednesday that is examining the H-2B visa program and the use of the program by small tourism businesses.
The hearing will be held before the Committee on Small Business’ subcommittee on economic growth and will be chaired by U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Horry County.
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
In a press release, Rice said delays by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security have created a backlog in the H-2B application process. He said that threatens small businesses because they depend on the labor of those immigrants.
Myrtle Beach has held several international student orientations since May to help acclimate those who come to the Grand Strand for temporary work during the summer.
City officials did not have an official number of students in the area for the summer, but more than 100 attended the meeting held June 4.
Lt. Pete Woods, who helps organize the orientations, said many of the students who attend the meetings are on J-1 visas, which are for full-time college students or recent graduates who are in the country for a cultural exchange.